Over the past few weeks, there have been a number of updates around Local Service Ads (LSAs), Google search, and Google Business Profile (GBP). While these updates may not be major by themselves, it’s worth finding out what’s new, and if these new features could apply to you.
Updates to LSAs and Local Ads
LSA Image Carousels
Some Google ads for local searches are now showing an expanding carousel of images, which, when clicked, take you to the Google Business Profile.
LSA Photo Guidelines
Additionally, the guidelines around photos in Local Services Ads have now been consolidated with the guidelines for using photos in local search. This goes into effect on November 13, 2023. There are no major changes in the guidelines that you need to be aware of, but consolidating the guidelines should make it easier for users to find and follow.
You Can Now Get LSA Leads via Text
You can now get your Local Services Ads leads sent to you via text message. Google has added this option via a checkbox in your settings. You can also change the phone number the leads go to.
New LSA Categories
And finally, Joy Hawkins has spotted 15 new categories available for Local Services Ads. Businesses such as barbers, hair or nail salons, and tattoo and piercing studios can now use LSAs.
GBP Updates and Tests
Google Business Profile is often adding new tests and updates, so take note of these in case you start spotting some new or unfamiliar features.
Google has added new “disabled-owned” and “indigenous-owned” attributes to business profiles. These new attributes are in addition to existing ones such as “black-owned”, “LGBT-owned”, and “women-owned”.
Attributes act as mini statements that say something about your business to help searchers decide whether your business is one they’d like to visit.
You may have also that seen some business attributes have been automatically changed by Google.
One local SEO has noticed Google automatically changing payment options as well as information about Covid-19 testing centers being removed.
Ultimately, this looks to be a small but useful change from Google, and a good reminder to look at your own GBPs to make sure your attributes are accurate and up to date.
Estimated vs Precise Location
A few local SEOs have been given the option to search using their ‘estimated location’ or their ‘precise location’ to better localize their search. Barry Schwartz notes that the setting is not new, but the UI is.
Hotel SERP Carousel
A more interactive carousel of images has been spotted on hotel SERPs. This new test shows a group of image cards under search results, allowing users to swipe through images.
GBP Social Media Links Global Roll Out
We noticed this back in August, but the ability to add your social media profile links to your GBP has now rolled out globally to every profile.
Third-Party Book Online CTA
A new CTA button has been added to GBPs for anyone using third-party booking software. This example from Joy Hawkins shows a ‘Book Online’ button on a business using the software Service Titan. This CTA goes to the third-party Reserve with Google integration which may be a new feature.
Expandable Business Groupings
Google is testing a new UI where they show you an expandable list of business categories related to your search. Selecting one will show matching local businesses
This was spotted by Khushal Berwani and posted on X (formerly Twitter):
🆕 Google testing expandable grouping business profile in mobile serp.
— Khushal Bherwani (@b4k_khushal) October 5, 2023
Food Preferences Setting
For anyone searching for restaurants, you may see a new settings option. The option to set your food preferences in search results is being tested, with the ability to filter by cuisine, dietary preference. Previously, this setting was available in Maps, but the test sees the option being brought straight into search results.
— Shameem Adhikarath (@shemiadhikarath) October 13, 2023
New Local Pack Design?
Google seems to be testing a new local pack design where restaurant reviews and menu are shown in a card format on mobile.
This was another clever spot by @shemiadhikarath on X (formerly Twitter):
Looks like new interface for GBP results. Menu, and Reviews card showing in a card format at GMP result on Mobile device. Also see the rating graph in the card.
— Shameem Adhikarath (@shemiadhikarath) October 18, 2023
While these may be a lot of little changes, it’s important to keep a close eye on what Google’s up to… and, as we know, and they’re always up to something! Have you seen any new features, tests, or updates? Join our Facebook group, The Local Pack, to share your findings!